“So, ‘more blood’, huh?” Uncle Doctor gave me a hug and a wry grin.
“Tell me more about Ireland!” Aunt Bird exclaimed.
“Let me see that ring!”
This weekend was a reminder of why I enjoy having a blog, and how disconcerting it is to be quoted back to myself. Many of my aunts and their husbands read my blog, and even the ones who don’t, offer opinions on what names they want me to give them.
“I think I’d like to be Uncle Deerslayer”, Aunt Country Singer’s husband declared in his slow West Virginian drawl. Coming from a man who made sure his wedding date didn’t interfere with deer season, who am I to argue?
Uncle Boy Scout Leader (aka Uncle BS Leader) is a wonderful storyteller and has helped shape the boys of Fowler, IN into fine upstanding men. “I’ve never had a scout quit on a hike. In fact, we were getting near the end of a 12-mile hike when one of the scouts started panting and lagging behind. I went back to give him a pep talk. ‘Listen, we can’t stop. We only have one and a half miles to go and you can do it. You just put your hand on your brother’s shoulder and he’ll pull you along. He’ll put his on the scout leader’s shoulder and pull him along. In the end, you’ll all make it. If you decide to quit, I’ll have to cut your throat and leave you here cause I’m not leaving a live scout on the trail.’ The kid made it. And he never forgot that hike!” Uncle BS Leader laughed.
In many ways Grandma’s funeral was a celebration of her life. All her surviving children came, except her son (who has an iron-clad excuse). Most of her grandchildren and a few of the great-grand kids were there as well. Of my 27 first cousins, 21 of us made it to the funeral. We were all a bit freaked out to recognize the kids we played with lurking behind the faces of adults we’d never met. Yet, as always, the family is warm and welcoming. Almost every conversation jumps off the deep end.
One of the remarkable features of my Mom’s whole family is that, for bad or for good, everybody’s in and no one gets kicked out. No one cares if my husband isn’t white. No one does a cold shoulder if the couple isn’t married. Even if you’ve never met before, the greeting is a hug. And if the family is swimming in the hotel pool and you didn’t bring a suit? No worries. One of the aunts is sure to bring extras. Come on in, the water’s fine!